TABLE 1-1 U.S. Production of Biofuels from Various Feedstocks in 2006



U.S. Production in 2006



4.9 billion gallons



Less than 100 million gallons


Cane sugar

No production (600 million gallons imported from Brazil and Caribbean countries)



No production (one demonstration plant in Canada)


Soybean oil

Approximately 90 million gallons


Other vegetable oils

Less than 10 million gallons


Recycled grease

Less than 10 million gallons



No production

SOURCE: U.S. CRS (2007).

The new technology on the horizon is the production of “cellulosic ethanol” from the fibrous material from a variety of plants such as corn stalks and wheat straw, native grasses, and forest trimmings. Cellulosic ethanol production currently exists only at pilot and commercial demonstration-scales, because the technologies for breaking down the fibers into fuel on a commercial scale are still being developed and may be five or more years in the future. A 2005 joint study of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture concludes that the United States could produce 60 billion gallons of ethanol by 2030 through a combination of grain and cellulosic feedstocks, enough to replace 30% of projected U.S. gasoline demand (USDA/DOE, 2005).


Biofuels production will alter both what types of crops are grown and where they are grown and may increase overall agricultural production. The effects of these changes in the agricultural mix of crops on water are complex, difficult to monitor, and will vary greatly by region. In general, crops that require less irrigation, less fertilizer and pesticides, and provide

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